The Death Of A Grandparent: How It Can Trigger Mental Problems In Children

Updated on September 26, 2022

Death is an event that happens in life. This includes a grandparent as well. When children are born, most grandparents are already at an advanced age.

The average life expectancy in the United States is 79 years of age. At some point, a child may lose a grandparent while they are still young. It may give them the opportunity to learn about death and why it’s a part of life.

This write up will go over the tragic events of a grandparent’s death. BasePoint Academy suggests that you’ll want to sit with your child and help them learn how to cope with the death of a loved one. Despite this, it can still be a challenge in terms of their mental health.

Let’s take a look now at how mental health problems can be triggered upon a grandparent’s death.

Such issues may already exist

Your child may already have a mental disorder. There may be symptoms and behavioral issues that may be part of it. An event such as the death of a grandparent can exacerbate these issues.

Loss of an important person in a child’s life is something that will sadden them. That’s because they were used to seeing them on a regular basis. This usually isn’t the case if they haven’t seen the grandparent as often (due to distance).

There seems to be a connection between the child and a grandparent that wasn’t meant to be broken. But when there is something missing, it can cause negative moods including sadness. Even with such issues like depression, it can amplify the feelings of sadness and worthlessness.

They have a deep connection with the grandparent

As mentioned in the previous point, a strong connection between a child and their grandparent can worsen the impact of grief. With the death of a loved one being a common cause for depression, a child can feel like life is just pointless without that important person in their life.

As a parent, you’ll want to gently explain to your child about death. They may have experienced this with the loss of a pet. However, the impact may be different when there’s another human being.

The same impact can be felt with the loss of another family member they have been connected with. This can also include a parent, sibling, or close relative. Explain to them that death is something that happens in life.

You may not want to invoke fear in a child about death in their early years. They may come to terms that yes, people do die at some point including themselves. This will also give them an idea that life should be appreciated and they can live it in the best way possible.

If they are dealing with mental problems, they can be able to manage them when they are older. So long as they have the right treatment plan, they will be able to live a fulfilling life. All while being able to control their mental health disorders.

Grandparents are people a child knew their whole lives

Most children will have known their grandparents since the beginning of their lives. The people that we see too often are something that is considered as normal. When changes in what seems to be normal happens, this can trigger issues due to unfamiliarity.

Anxiety can occur because of these changes. What was the previous normal is now new with the passing of a grandparent. The child won’t be able to see them again going forward.

As unfortunate as it sounds, the physical presence of a grandparent is no more. If you are someone who is spiritual or religious, you can talk to your child about how the spirit of a grandparent will always be with them. It may be explained better by someone who is a member of the clergy, who can offer counseling to an extent (but not mental health counseling).

It may be something they are not prepared for

At a young age, children may not understand the concept of death. What they don’t realize at that point in their life is that it’s inevitable. For that reason, preparation is key.

A child may not expect the death of a grandparent to happen. So it may be something that suddenly happens out of nowhere. Later on in life, they will already have an understanding of the concept and will be prepared to face the loss of a grandparent when the time comes.

But a young child has yet to learn about what is considered inevitable. Because they don’t know it, they are not prepared and won’t know for sure when it happens. Unexpected occurrences can shake a person to their core and even affect them in a negative way mentally.

The issues can last some time

A grandparent could be an important person in a child’s life. The issues can last some time and it can be due to several factors. They may be dealing with a member of their family that might not show the same love and affection that their late grandparent provided.

When a grandparent dies, a child wants nothing more than to receive love from members of their family. When one member doesn’t do that, it can be a depressing thing for a child to experience. It’s important that you provide your child the same love and affection a grandparent has provided for them.

Final Thoughts

A grandparent’s death can affect a child negatively. This can be due to their connection with one another. Mental problems can arise, especially if they are dealing with mental disorders of their own. Even if they are mentally healthy, the potential of developing issues can still arise.

It is important that you talk to your child about the concept of death. You can also discuss with them ways to cope with it. Make sure that your child is mentally prepared for what is inevitable in life so they know what to expect and find ways to cope with it.

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